Quinoa and Spinach Enchiladas with Tomatillo Salsa

quinoa and spinach enchiladas with tomatillo salsa

Last year at this precise time, I was getting ready to start my final class in college  — Economics 101.  That class left me entirely drained out and scarred for life because that’s how traumatic economics can be.  But this year I’m done with school.  It’s a miracle!  No more classes to enroll to.  No more textbooks to swallow my wallet whole.  I’m now a college graduate, a frustrated job-seeker, but in my spare time an official food blogger.  I really enjoy being a food blogger and doing what I enjoy rather than taking another one of those dreaded college classes.

But I do miss it, for some odd reason.  Yes, I miss college.  I miss driving off to classes, meeting equally confused people like myself, pulling an all-nighter and walking like a zombie the next day, and hearing college professors talk about their somewhat amusing lives.  Oh yeah, and learning new things was always good too.

However, just because classes are over doesn’t mean I’m not learning new things.  As a food blogger, I’m constantly learning.  Food blogging has actually encouraged me to learn more things about cooking and baking than ever before.  For example, I learned how to make my own tomatillo salsa for these enchiladas.  I also learned how to cook quinoa for the first time.  It was like doing homework. But guess what?  Both of these homework “assignments” were ridiculously easy like kindergarten-homework-kind-of-easy!

Anyway, this past week as I went on my weekly trip to the supermarket there were these beautiful fresh bright green tomatillos at the produce section.  I wish I had pictures of them!  They looked so fresh and just so darn cute all covered up in their little husks.  I started bagging the tomatillos just as soon as I caught sight of them.  And I knew exactly what I wanted to make with them.  Why yes!  Enchiladas verdes of course!

I love enchiladas, particularly green enchiladas or as I call them in Spanish, enchiladas verdes.  I guess I have a particular fondness for that tart flavor of tomatillos which are the main ingredient in most green enchilada sauces.  I guess I also prefer the mildness of green enchiladas, which are usually not as hot as red enchiladas.  (Hot and spicy food is not my forte).  Also, did I mention they look so cute in their little husks!

The filling for these enchiladas is totally meat-free and full of nutritious goodness: quinoa, spinach, onions, and beans.  You could use any beans you like.  I had a bag of frozen great northern beans at the moment so I used those.  The recipe I followed lists black beans but again, any beans, maybe even chickpeas will do.  When serving them you can either go with your favorite vegan toppings or top them off with sour cream or plain yogurt, and your favorite cheese.  I crumbled some salty dry cotija cheese on top and added a dollop of sour cream.  Still very healthy and good for you!  A little cheese doesn’t hurt.  I promise.

So, do these enchiladas sound too healthy to be good?  I thought so too.  But believe me these meat-free enchiladas are so delicious!  It has the perfect combination of flavors stuffed into each corn tortilla. The quinoa was interesting, it’s tiny, and basically doesn’t taste like anything at all with all the spinach surrounding it.  However it does add a very slight chewy texture which I really enjoyed.  And there’s a good amount of protein coming from the quinoa and the beans which means you won’t miss the meat!

The tomatillo salsa however, is the rock star ingredient here.  I mean what’s an enchilada without a really good salsa or sauce, right?    The tomatillo salsa has just the right amount of heat and a lovely freshness to it that complimented the other ingredients perfectly.


And now it’s time to take notes:

Always, always, ALWAYS wear gloves when handling serrano peppers!  (That is if you plan to make your own tomatillo salsa)

Quinoa and Spinach Enchiladas with Tomatillo Salsa

Yields 4


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup onions (chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 12oz chopped spinach (frozen)
  • 12oz canned beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup tomatillo salsa
  • queso fresco (or cotija)
  • fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • plain yogurt (or sour cream)

tomatillo salsa

  • 1lb tomatillos
  • 3 serrano chiles (seeded and chopped)
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • dash salt
  • pinch sugar


*This recipe makes an abundance of quinoa and spinach mixture.  You could use the leftovers to make more enchiladas or freeze the rest!

Recipe from: Centered Chef



Step 1
Wash and rinse quinoa really well using a strainer and a bowl. Drain well. Bring water to boil in a small saucepan, add salt, add quinoa, turn off heat, cover. Allow quinoa to cook in hot water for about 10 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.
Step 2
Heat oil in a skillet, add onions and a pinch of salt. Cook stirring until onions become translucent. Stir in minced garlic and cook just until very lightly browned and fragrant. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Stir in beans and cooked quinoa. Combine everything and stir together until heated thoroughly. Remove from heat.
Step 3
Preheat oven to 375F. Pour a thin layer of tomatillo salsa on the bottom of a rectangular baking dish. Heat tortillas on a skillet or lightly fry in hot oil just until soft and pliable. Fill each tortilla one at a time with a spoonful of quinoa mixture, roll up tightly and stack seam side down. Bake until tortillas become crispy and harden. Pour tomatillo salsa and bake a few minutes more until salsa thickens, about 20 minutes.
Step 4
Serve with crumbled queso fresco, cotija, or any shredded cheese, plain yogurt, sour cream, and chopped cilantro.
Step 5
To make the salsa: First peel off and remove the tomatillo husks, wash the tomatillos well and drain them. Then roast the tomatillos on the stove or in the broiler until they char slightly and soften. Then allow them to cool completely before peeling and add everything to the blender except for the water. Blend together and then add enough water to complete 2 cups of salsa. Hope that works for you! (recipe source: Joy of Cooking book)


  • Kayle (The Cooking Actress) says:

    Lol the boyfriend was so frustrated with school his last year but less than 6 months after graduating…he was complaining about how he missed it. Now he’s gonna do grad school. Silly people. I do not miss school, nope. :P

    I would miss these enchiladas though….after I ate them all

  • laurasmess says:

    I miss school too! I couldn’t wait to graduate when I was there, but now I miss the sleep-in mornings, the ongoing learning and achievement, all nighters whilst chatting with friends… ah. Now it’s all boring responsibility (but on the plus side, I’m no longer poor! Yay!). These enchiladas look gorgeous. I agree, food blogging is quite the learning curve. He wearing gloves when handling chillies: yes! I learned that the hard way. Oh, it burns (eyes, skin, argh!)

    • Ruby says:

      True. When I was struggling and writing paper after paper I’d dream of that day it’d finally be over. Now it’s like… “hey it wasn’t all that bad…” LOL And yes, those chilies burn. I’m so glad I didn’t touch my eyes this time!

  • Kim@Treats & Trinkets says:

    I miss school. I don’t miss school assignments- 30 page research paper on a psychological disorder? LOLNOPE- but I miss classes like perception and physiological psych where I had so much fun learning the material that it didn’t feel like work. Because I am a GIANT NERD. And of course, winter/summer/spring breaks, I miss those too. Those were awesome.

    I love enchiladas verde too! That’s always the way I order them, if I have a choice. And spinach and quinoa filling, it’s like you made these just for me. So when can I come over for dinner?

  • CCU says:

    Haha I dont think I will miss school after graduating, albeit I do have almost five or 6 years remaining of college :P
    Great recipe, this salsa is made for me! Delicious enchiladas!


  • Laura Dembowski says:

    School was definitely not for me and I never miss it, but it’s cool that you do. The fact that we’re all different is what makes life interesting. Love this creative way to use quinoa. And I’ve always wanted to try tomatillos.

  • Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes says:

    I love cooking with quinoa lately. It’s so good and healthy! I don’t miss school at ALL and am so happy not to have to ever go back LOL :)

Leave a Comment